tv PBS News Hour PBS August 8, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsor newshour productions, llc >> brangham: good evening, i'm william brangham. judy woodrf is on vacation. t onhe newshour tonight, in ohio and kansas, it's too close toca ll in two closely-watched races. we breakdown what the latest election results reveal about what's to come in november. then, an exclusive club-- a new report sheds light on how members at mar-a-lago are influencing how president trump runs the dartment of veterans affairs. and, an inside look at a new earthquake warning system and what it could mean for people living in high-risk areas. >> we believe we can prevent half the injuries. we can reduce nksses. we tt's a great cost- effective measure. >> brangham: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour
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>> brangham: a member of the u.s. house, and his son, are under indictme tonight for alleged insider stock trading.ca new york repubchris collins serves on the board of a drug company. lprosecutors say he learnt summer that an experimental drug had failed, and alerted his son, who quickly dumped his stock. then, they allegedly lied about it to federal agents. >> congressman collins couldn't keep his crime a secret forever. i. asked to interview him, and instead of telling the truth he lied. l ng to the f.b.i. they compounded their insider trading crime with the crime of criminal coverup. >> brangham: collins representso pawestern new york between buffalo and rochester. the star witness in the trial former trump campaign chair paul manafort finished his testimony today. under a plea agreement, rick gates testified that he helpedna
rt file false income tax returns, and conceal millions in foreign income.la defensers painted him as a liar. the charges of bank and tax fraud stem from the years before manafort joimpd the trump gn. in the russia investigation, president trump'legal team rejected special counsel robert mueller's conditions for interviewinghe president. reports today say the president's lawyers objected to any questions about whether he obstructed justice. instead, they called for the e to wrap up by septembe first. it's been another long day for 14,000 firefighters battling 18 wildfires across california. the so-called holy fire marched through a national forest today, south of los angeles. it's just 5% contained. but in the north, crews madein progress a the mendocino complex fire, the state's largest ever. hundreds of evacuees were allowed to go home, after waiting since the weekend. >> everything just seems kind of surreal. rtu know, it's just last couple
of days really settling in. you know, m just it's uncertainty is all a lot of uncertainty, a lot of a lot of uncertainty, it's all i know a lot of stress. >> brangham: fire managers say smoke from the big blaze has actually cooled the air a bit, and helped slow its advance. in indonesia, officials say the death toll has reached 131 after sunday's powerful earthquake. the search for survivors contues, and the military sa the final number could be much higher. meanwhile,ome 13,000 homes were damaged on the resort island of lombok, which is east of bali. thousands of the displaced are living in tents. a crippling drought is now threatening australia's most populous state, which is experiencing the driest conditions in 50 years. officials say 100% of new south wales is affected, all 300,000 square miles. farmers are being promised aid, and they've been authorized to shoot more kangaroos, so the
animals don't eat the sparse grass that livestock need.ou >>e got to remember that some of our farmers haven't really recovered from the last drought. so, it is biting. every farming business is erfferent, some are doing be than other but regardless, we're going to stand by all of them to get all of them to get everyone through this challenging period. n brangham: forecasters w the drought may last another three months. e u.s. today slapped new sanctions on russia over a nerve agent attack in britain. e targets were former russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter. a state department spokeswoman i saagrees with british findings that moscow as behind the attack. the kremlin has denied any involvement. there's new pushback against president trump's threat tt those who do business with iran, will not do business with the u.s. the president re-imposed sanctions on iran yesterday,g after pullt of the 2015 nuclear deal. but china said today that its business with iran is "open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any united natns security council
resolutions." and, turkey said it will continue to buy naturafrom iran, no matter what. immigration and customs enforcement officials today led a federal raid of about 12 i businessminnesota and nebraska. they arrested 14 company owners and managers suspected of hiring and mistreating immigrants who entered the u.s. illegal. more than 130 workers were also arrested. the new york city counted today to freeze new licenses for drivers working for uber and other ride-hailing companies. it's the first major americanha city to takestep. gxi drivers argued for the 12- month freeze, citiwing traffic and falling salaries.an on wall street, the dow jones industrial average fell 45 points to close at 25,583. the nasdaq rose four points, and the s&p 500 slipped a fraction of a pnt. still to come on the newshour: what last night's primaries mean for the novemberlection.
reports that three men are influencing e veterans affairs department from mar-a-lago. the west coast tries out an early warning system for earthquakes, and much more. >> brangham: less than 100 days out from the november ection, primaries were held tuesday in four states plus a special election in ohio. we take a look at how those contests played out and what they signal for both parties in the fall. last night, ohio republican troy baldersocarried on as if he was a winner. he said he'd work hard for his columbus-area house district, s en sent a gesture of tha the head of his party. >> i'd like to thank president trump. >> brangham: but while balderson leads in the current tally for this special election, it's a razor-thin lead-- over democrat danny o'connor in thisna tradity republican
district-- 50.2% for balderson, 49.3 for o'connor, still too close to call. last night, democrat o'connor matched the energy of his supporters, and there was no talk of conceding defeat. >> we' not stopping now. tomorrow we rest and then we keep fighting through to november! >> brangham: his performance encouraged state democrats. >> at the end of the day to have it be close ultimately is a big sign of momentum going into november.ra >> bngham: meanwhile, the hoite house said today that president trump,ampaigned for balderson, will continue supporting candidates who back his agenda. the president supported several other candidates competing on tuesday in republican primaries. michigan gubernatorial candidate bill schuette anmissouri michigan gubernatorial candidate bill schuette, michigan senate candidate john james, and missouri senate candidate josh hawley all won the g.o.p. nominations in their races. and in neighboring kansas, the trump-backed republican
gubernatorial candidate, kris kobach, has the smallest of leads-- less than 200 votes, over the state's incumbent republican governor, jeff colyer. the associated press is not projecting a winner in that race, either. colyer has been in stateme govern for a decade, but has only been governor for half a year. while kobach, kansas's current secretary of state, has gained a national profile with hardline conservative stances on immigration and voting rights. in michigan, gretchen whitmer clinched the democratic nomination for governor over dul el-sayed, in a conte that tested the staying power of liberal candidates like el- sayed, who were backed by independent senator bernie sanders. michigan will also almost certainly send the first-ever muslim womano congress, rashida tlaib, won the p democratmary to fill the detroit-area seat vacated by congressman john conyers after he was accused of sexual misconduct. tlaib will have no republican opposition in the fall, smooth
sailing for one of the record 185 women who are major-party nominees for house seats this midterm year. and here for more on those election results is kyle kondik. henalyzes elections at the university of virginia's center for politics and is also the author of "the bellwether: why ohio picks the predent." thank for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> brangham: last night lots of primaries, lots of different states. what stood o >> i think the big picture takeaway is a lot of election results since president trump got elected have suggested a democratic bounce-back and the potential for thdemocrats to have a good election in november. kothing that happened last night would make you th differently about that. i mean, i know that democrats did not win the ohio 12 special election but they came retty close in a district that really should be very difficult for a democrat. anmeso the envir i think remains good for democrats, t particularly as you looke battle for the u.s. house of representatives. >> woodr bf:. ngham: let's talk more about that ohio race in
particular. it's still too close to call as we were reporting, but as you said, we should not have been talking about thisace at all. this should be a clear red victory. >> this is a bedrock republican district. ohio governor john kasich used to hold it. then pat teaberry, the most recent representative held it for a long time. donald trump won the district by about 11 points. to me that 11-point margin sort of understates how rublican this district is, because if you look at results down the ballot in recent history in this district, it's redder than that. it look likely tory to, the republican, is going to win, troy balderson, but by less than a petarc point. that means danny o'connor, the democrat, is going to perform about ten points beter on margin than hillary clinton did there in 2016. that's about in keepith what the average change we've seen in the special elctions have been both at the federal level and also at the state level. >> woodruff:>> brangham: so as e saying, not too much to change
our opinion about the national picture. >> i don't know if it's a slam dunk that democrats will win the house, but i think i you're the democrats, you look at last night and feel pretty good abo what you saw. republicans can come back and say, hey, we won, and they hav won most of these special elections, but they've all taken places in places that more republican than the national average, certainly ohio 12 is to the right of the national average, too. >> brangham: a lot of house seats will be up for grabs in washington statea they have aticularly unusual way of doing it. what were you looking at there? so washington, like california, they have a top-two primary, meaning all the candidates compete on the same ballot. the top two foinishers advance november. eometimes the two-party vot totals in that state and in california can sort of be predictive of the fall, and the democratic vote totals in som key districts out there really seem quite good. they're still counting votes out ere. but it leads one to think that democrats might be able to pick up a seat or more out of
washington state, and again, when you're only picking up 23 nationally, those seats add up quickly. , mocrats were also encouraged by washington staut vote totals are not totally final ye >> brangham: missouri had some junior labor issues on the ballot. this obviously comes when the national trends for unions are not ieat. membershdown. the supreme court had just taken a little bit of wind out of their sails, as well. what happened there last night?s >> there a right-to-work referendum on the ballot. it failed by more than 2-1, which is a great result for labor, even in a sta like missouri, which used to be kind of a national bellwether state and reallyeas trnded republican over the last ten to 15 years. you know, it also speaks to a larger phenomenon in american political life, which is that when you have arvonive president, the public all of a sudden starts to act a little whenmore liberal, like there is a liberal, the public starts to be more conservative. we see that on pulic opinion
for instance on the affordable care act, it's become morepu r since president trump got elected. and you can maybe see it in these right-to-work rests in that that's a liberal agenda item fighting right to wordk, an democrats succeeded in defeating it by a big margin last night in missouri. >> brangham: speaking h the presidenw do you see his influence having played out last night? >> i think the predent really took credit basically for balderson apparently winning, t at the same time, if hillary clinton were in the white house, ohio 12 probably wouldn't have o been that mu a contest. we know from american history that holding the white house, you pay a toll for that down the ballot in special elections and mid-terms often, particularly when the president's approval rating is poor, as this president's approval rating is. so maybe trump's visit to ho 12 on saturday moved the needle a little bit, but if he were mer popular, the race probably wouldn't have been so close to begin with. >> brangham: what about the flip side? there's been a lot of talk about
the bernie sanders, cortez slice of the democratic party. how did last night look for them? >> they did not suced in the michigan governor's race and also a house primary in kansas' third district, the more establishment-esiented candidone particularly in the michigan race. it just goes to show that as impolice evidence as ocasio core tends's win against joe crowley was in new york state, itrewas he exception than the rule. i would say these t so-called democratic establishment is generally getting their candidat through these primaries, although she is a major exception given that sheo beat a t-ranking house democrat. >> brangham: kyle kon thank you very much. >> thanks for having me. >> brangham: president trump has promised to improve how the department of veterans affairs cares for our former service-men and women. but a new report out today
questis how the department is being run, and whether outside influence affects the treatmentv therans are receiving. nick schifrin has the story. schifrin: when former veterans affairs secretary david shulken closed the stock exchange last november, he had an unusual helper. that's shulken in the middle. on the right, captain america, a character in the marvel iverse. and it just so happens that shulken's most powerful and most informal advisor was this man, ike perlmutter, the chairman ofe marvelntertainment and a longtime friend of president trump. perlmutter became the leader of what the investigative news-site pro-publica calls the v.a.'s shadow rulers. perlmutter, bruce moskowitz, a doctor, and marc sherman, a lawyer none of the three have served in tht,u.s. military or governm but they have outsize influence over all v.adecisions, cording to the story written us propublica reporter isaac arnsdorf, who joinn the studio. also here, melissa bryant, a former army intellence officer
and the chief policy officer of the iraq and afghanistan veterans of america. thank you to your both. >> thank you. i >> schifriaac, let me start with you. what has been the relationship between these three men and the v. a. overall? >> you basihave thee these guys down in mar-a-lago who for the past year and a h been acting as a shadow leadership for the department of veterans and foreign affairs and weighing in on all manner of personnel decision des officially having no role in government, never having served vernmentilitary or go previously, and not really having any direct experience that's relevant to this. they've been kind of hovering over the officials who areth actually i government and telling them how they think things should be done. >> schifrin: so a president's cabinet, they all have infseorml ad, right? everybody gets advice from outside of government. why is this a big deal? why is this unusual?t' >> idefinitely different the
way they've been assigned a particular agency under teir purview. we've never really seen something like that where they're so directly assigned to outside advisers, demanding that officials fly down mar-a-lago at taxpayer expense to meet with them and run things by them. and very quickly it became clear within the department that people who didn't get along with them wre pretty quickly out of a job.ri >> sch the relationship was quite interesting. let me read an e-mail between bruce bruce moskowitz and david schulken. bruce moskowitz writes, we only wat to meet face to fahen necessary. we will set up phone conference cas at a convenient time. david schulken writes, "i know how busy all of you are, and having you be tre in person aneso present after met was truly a gifoet." whatthat say about the relationship? >> what it says is they're clearly trying to esabtsh that schulken needs to come to them to do his job, and you can see
from the very beginning, there is this friction that would groe overime that schulken was serving as secretary and ultimately coributed to him being fired, that they began the feel like he wasn't listening tm >> schifrin: so certainly we have a lot of turmoil in the leadership of the vet aans affairs,s we're talking aboutde this outnfluence. we should just read the statement frorm pelmutter, moskowitz, and sherman. they said, "we were always willing to share our thoughts. we did not make or implement any type of policy, posss any authority over agency decisions or direct government officials to take any actions." but did they influence policy, especially the efforts toward privatization? >> there's no question that they had vast influence. ey're notically making the decisions themselves, but when everyone knows that iku will just pic the phone and call the president if he doesn't get his way, it's very clear to everyone at the v. a. it has to
be their way. the big debate about the v. a. over the past year and a half is about the extent to which it should be using in-house government-run medical care versus private care. last year there was a point where perlmutter weighed in on the side of the private care. his idea was basically tbring private providers into the v. a. to have a look around and see what services they thought should be outsourced to providers like themselves, an that obviously is a conflict re in. >> schifrin: explain that more. what is wrong with that? some people believe there should be more privatization in the vao what's with people arguing for more privatization? >> this because big part of president trump's campaign, but most veterans oppose that.e and jor veterans groups oppose that, because their view is that they get betr care in the va and it would be much more expensive and serve vetrsans to have them out in the private sector. >> schifrin: melissa bryant, let me turn to you. i want to ask about your notion
of pri tvatization, buthis notion of outside influence from the outside and formal advisers d also turmoil at the top of the veterans affairs, does tat influence the care? >> it absolutely does. what we see from the vetorans serviceanizations and my colleagues across the veterans space is that wee seen fits and starts for a program and for policies throughout the last particularly eight months since dr. schulken has faced his ethics challenges and then he was ousted. but then folowing that we saw a lot of challenges to contracts such as healthcare, a contract, a $10 billion contract tt we saw start and then fall back and it ws eventually restarted again. that's something that will be implemented over the next ten years. we've seen a document in care for suicide prevention, even though there are major plans and there is a joint plan of action between the department of defense and the va to ens
that there is no veteran that's left behind. the care for mental health care. so we'reoncerned that we're not seeing the absolute best the va can do because they're so distracted with the turmoil within leadership and the outside influencers who are able to distract civil servants and others who are trying to do what's best re va. >> schifrin: why do you and hur organization oppose efforts that president tru talked about that, these outside advisers have talked about toward privazation? >> we oppose privatization in that it would, as isaac spoke to, it would cost upwards of trilons by our best estimates. it could possibly lead to poor healthcare and poor healthcare outcomes for veterans. under the va's infrastructure, its facilities and the providers that they have, they be understand the military community. they unerstand healthcare and the challenges of the invisible
wounds of war such ast.s.d., traumatic brain injury, they understand things like amputation and the advances that they made in prosthetics in veterans. these are the types that are healthcare advances he va does best. we would love to see infrastructure being ind ves within the va to continue to serve the milary community and particularly for the wounds of war that we know germain to our population. >> schifrin: quickly, in the time we have left, we have a nei secretary, first full week to be job. what are you looking for in his decision-making this week to know whether the va can fix some of these problems going forward? th we would lik see secretary wilkey have the autonomy and authori able to do what's right for veterans. we know this is near and dear t. his he he talks about how this is a part of his family legacy. i get that to.mi this is fa business for many of us. my father was a vietnam vet. i'm an iraq war vet. so we want to ensure that that
commitment to service translates into commitment to care for those who are born to battle, our survivors and ourde ndents. we hope secretary wilkey has the latitude the make the right decisions and not be influenced by outside money andncutside infls who may not have the best care or interest of veterans at heart. >> schifrin: melissa bryant, isaac arnsdorf, thank you you both. >> brangham: stay with uhe coming up onewshour: the head of twitter defends not banning conspiracy theorist alex jones. from the newshour bookshelf, a journalist seeks answers to her father's mental illness. and, what's leading to rampant elephant poaching in myanmar. but first, on a week when a series of werful earthquakes in indonesia killed more than 100 and left thousands homeless, special correspondent cat wise has this update on efforts in
the u.s. to establish an earthquake early warning system in the pacific northwest. that's where cat lives a works, and she first reported on the system four years ago. it's part of our weekly series on science, medicine and technology, the leading edge >> reporter: we west coasters go about daily life knowing there are seismic loreats lurking w us that could hit at any moment, there's not much we cano do a that. but when the next big one hits, if we had even a few seconds of warning, there's a lot we could do: get students under desks, stop before bridges, halt surgeries, head to higher ground. >> keep it going! >> reporter: and put down dangerous objects. in the midst of happy crowds at the base of seattle's space riptle, a small, nonde building is part of a big effort to provide those precious seconds of warning. doug gibbons is a field enneer with the pacific northwest
seismic network. on a recent day, he was checkinh on thly sensitive equipment housed here which measures vibrations in the earth. >> these instruments can feel f motion that isar smaller than what people can feel. i'm about 10 feet away and even just a good stomp on the grounr is enough fothat sensor to record.or >> repr: the space needle sensor is just one of about 850 throughout washington, oregon and california sending real-time seismic data into an early warning system called" shakealert." it's been developed over the past 12 years by the u.s. geological survey and several west coast universities. last year, the northwest sensors became fully integrated with california's network. information streaming in from the sensors is processed at three shakealert data centers,cl ing this one on the university of washington campus. within just seconds, complex algorithms determine where an earthquake occurred, a the likely shaking intensity and
magnitude. the system picks-up small seismic eventsultiple times a day, but if a more significant earthquake is detected, an alert is automatically generated. currently those alerts are going out to several dozen authorized pilot users throughout t i west coast,luding the bay area rapid transit system and a fire station in universal city. the speed of the technology isut critical unique feature of earthquakes is what makes the alerts possible: there are two waves of energy emitted deep underground: p waves are fast but we. they cause the initial mild shaking seen in blio in this anim s waves are slower but generate the strongest shaking, seen in yellow and red. the sensors detect the initial p wave, giving those further away, more time to react. >> we're going to see an earthquake in the cascadia subduction zone near the olympic peninsul >> reporter: bill steele, who directs communication and outreach for the northwest
network showed me a simulation of an alert for olympia, washington, where i grew up. >> so here's the p wave and s wave radiating from thend earthquakeere's your house in olympia. you can see there's still 30 seconds before thawaearthquake is going to arrive. that's a lot of time to get and cover and take preventative action. reporter: how much of a heads-up one gets depends on proximity to the epicenter. there may be no warning or more than a minute. in 2014, after a 6.0 earthquake hit napa, the bay area had about five seconds of warning, and earlier this year l.a. had a bit more time following a 5.3 near the channel islands. still, the sysm is far from complete. more sensors are needed, especially in the nohwest. and despite congress' $23 million appropriation earlier this year, shakealert is underfunded. the u.s.g.s and its collaborators recently estimated it will cost nearly $60 millionb to fulld-out and $38
million each year to maintain. that's more than double previou yearly estimatough some costs may be shared with public and prate partners. >> that's a tiny, tiny percentage of the annualiz losses from earthquakes. we believe we can prevent half the injuries. we can reduce losses. we thi it's a great cost- effective measure. >> reporter: so far, the alerts have not been accessible to the general public. but there's been a big push this year to distribute them more widely, especially to schools, hospitals, and first responders. >> we still have a long way to go to educate people. >> reporter: maximilian dixon ia hquake program manager for washington state's emergency management division. he says he's eager for everyone to have access, but he wants to be very careful about the implementation.>> hen you have an unreinforced masonry building like this one,a what we don' people to do is get the shake alert earthquake early warning and
then to run outside a building and th have the bricks from this facade collapse on them and either inje them or killing them. we want them to drop, cover, and hold on in placen the building and ride out the shaking in the building so they are as safe as they can be. >> reporter: but even if people are safe, there's a lot of infrastructure that needs protecting too. the northeast sammamish water and sewer district near seattle recently became the first utility in the state to pilot ut automated wn system connected to shakealert. the warnings come in via the internet to a new piece ofbe ed hardware designed by local engineering firm rh2. stanng over a half million gallon tank of clean water she doesn't want to draing an earthquake, utility general manager laura keough explained what happens next. >> we've received the signal. you can hear the pumps shutting down already. there's valves on each of those
preserves all the water in the tank. >> reporter: also connected, workers at the utility who now practice drills to take protective actions. th earthquake brian, vacat space.ke earthqua >> reporter: while the pacificma northwest ha progress developing shake alert, the region lags behind california where there are big expectations for a public rollout. >> by the end of 2018, we will deploy an earthquake early warning system to every corner of this city. >> reporter: l.a. mayor eric garcet has made earthquake warnings a priority. the city is developing an alert app with at&t which will be tested by 48,000 city employees. but there is at least one privately developed app alread out there. >> the biggest impulse i have to say when i do see the alts coming is to get on twitter. >> rorter: l.a. journalist,ss and mom, aliwalker is one of a small group of beta testers for an app called "quake alert"" >> i've gotten a few where it d
sa't expect shaking and i did feel some weak shaking so it doesn't always know where you are, but the fact that i'm getting alerts and have at least a few seconds to figure out what to do makes a big difference. >> reporter: entrepreneur josh bashioum partnered with the u.s.g.s. to create the app and .utomated hardwa when triggered, this device opens elevator doors and alerts residents over an intercom in a marina del-ray high rise condo. bashioum is making money on the ware, but he says the ap will be free when its launched and there are more than 100,000. on a waitl >> the mobile application can ecpport millions of people. really the bottlis the push notifications. we have challenges in rengtion to sendiut, you know, a million push notifications for residents in los angeles. >> reporter: but what about an emergency notification, like an amber alert used when a child is missing? u.s.g.s's bob degroot, who works
with the shakealert technical teams, gets asked that a lot. >> the current amber alert system is great, but it's not built for spd. currently it takes somewhere between three to seven seconds to get those messages ingested and moving through the system. a and fema hasctually talked to us about shortening the time. aen on the other end, the cellphone carrieo have significant time delays associated with their delivery. we're working with the cell phone industry and they've been very receptive to help us get those times down. >> reporr: the general public may start to receive earthquake warnings in some areas later this year, but shaalert officials say there won't be a countdown and the message will be fairly simple: drop, cover, and hold on. for the pbs newshour, i'm cat wise in seattle.
>> brangham: he may be america's best known conspiracy theorist,a but this weex jones' content will be a little harder s, find. that's because ituacebook, spotify and youtube all removed tss audio and video broadc from their platforms, saying jones olated their policies on hate-speech . the newshour's p.j. tobia has more. >> reporter: for more than 20 years, jones has screamed... >>hat is hitler? what is stalin? what is mao? >> reporter: and shouted... >> you'll never, never defeat the human spirit! you'll never defeat god! you'll never win! >> reporter: ...on the way to winning over millionnaof fans to hitionally syndicated radio program, online video broadcasts and "infowars" website. with his sloga "there's a war on for your mind," jones specializes in conspiracy theories. perhaps his most infamous claim: that the school shooting in sandy hook connecticut was a hoax perpetrated by the government.
>> sandy hook is synthetic, completely fake, with actors, in my view manufactured. >> reporter: victim's families have sued jones for defamation. he's long supported president trump, who appeared on his radio program in december of 2015. >> your reputation is amazing. i will not let you down. you'll be very, very impressed,e i and i think we'll be speaking a lot. >> reporter: jones' median operat funded in part through sales at his infowars store. >> i'm doing free shipping on everything, whether it's a hillary for prison shirt or a bill clinton rape shirt. >> reporter: he combines his sales pitch for nutritional supplements with political ideology. t >> are on recobe some of the best shots we've got at countering and blocking the globalist operations. am i a beach body, no, am i tarzan, no. am i some olympic swimmer, no. the point is i'm a b guy. >> reporter: this morning, jones broadcasted a periscope message in response to his being kicked off of the socdia platforms.
>> they dissapeared me, like i've been airbrushed out of those old soviet photos with in, and as he killed eac person he had 'em airbrushed out. if this isn't 1984 baby, i don't know what is. >> reporter: jones has spawnedim hundreds oators. mostly right-wing, anti government conspiracy theorists, peddling merchandise and the "real story" the government doesn't want you to know about. >> love him or hate him, alex is like the canary in the coal mine anthese big tech companies conspiring together to deplatform him on the same day, changes evything. >> reporter: aside from his website, jones' radio show is syndicated to over60 stations nationwide. s' ban from youtube and the resulting loss of over two million subscribers on the platrm, infowars reporters remain a presence on youtube and facebook. there are still many platforms for alex jones to wage what he sees as a war for american minds. for the pbs newshour, i'm j. tobia. >> brangham: we take a closer look now at the growing pushback against alex jones with lyrissa
lidsky. she's the dean of the university of missouri school of law, and has been following these moves and other legal actions against k ex jones. lyrissa lidsky, thu for being here. all of these social media platforms are taking alex jones off their sites. they're arguing that he violates wonder wyour reaction to that is? >> there are two things that need to be untode. one is the first amendment only instects citizens aga restrictions on their speech by the government and government actors. and platforms like facebook or google are no government actors. so the first amendment simply does not speak to theironduct. the other thing that people sometimes misunderstand ist hate speech itself is not a legal cathoegory, alth it may overlap with things like true threats or defamation that are legal categories. so the government cant broadly restrict anything that it might
label hate speech, but platforms can if they wish to. >> brangham: twitter's c.e.o. as we saw, jack dorsey, the c.e.o. of the company, said he's taking the ope of the approach. they're not banning alex jones. he wrote, "we didn't suspend alex jones or info wars yesterday. we know that's hard for many, but the reason is simple: he hasn't violated our rules. we'll enforce if he does. you're saying that's within ghts.er's >> it is absolutely within twitter's rights. it's also within userights to put pressure on twitter for that. but jack dorsey this morning in a tweet said that what he expects to happen is for journalists and others to counteract alex jones' fallshoods with true, factual information and to drown out hi hateful and distorted speech with the true, factual information they find. >> brangham: so wh al jones and his supporters argue that this is just outright
censorship, you say they might feel they're being censored, ut there standings that he has to argue legally at he's being censored. >> censorship is a legal term for when the government restricts your speech. he's not balancing censored.e there lot of people calling for the platforms to take him down, but that doesn't count as legal censorship. >> brangham: what do you make of the slippery slope argume that some people have been arguing that, yes, these social media sites have become such important dispensers of news and information in our world, but nce they start pickingd choosing, that that is a problematic move for society. >> well, it's complicated. i am an ardent defender of free speech. i am concerned about the abity of facebook, for example, to pick and choose what speech is on its network, but i'm not
concerned when they make a reasonable determination as they have to that the kind of l fabricats that are causing harm to inividuals need to be taken down from their site. i don't think alex jones is a hard case, per se, but i would hope for free expression purposes that plaorms wou go case by case. >> brangham: alex jones is llenges ing some cha the legal realm. he's being sued for liebl an defamation, one by the parents of some of the children killed at sandy hook, and another by man who filmed te vieo of the car hitting the counterprottor at the charlottesville white supremacist rally last year. what do those individuals need to prove in order to win teir case in court? >> okay. so in order to win, they need tv that alex jones made a defamatory statement, which is a statement that would tend to harm reputations.
in both cases he claimed they nwere crisis actors who one instance invented the death of their children and then ince another inste claimed that the person who filmed th car driving into the protester inlo chesville had himself been part of, you know, the incidents, had been somewhat responsible for her death and had fabricated it. sohose are clearly stements that tend to harm reputations, identifying these people that are published to an audience of millions. then after that there is a question. there is a novel legal question as to what the plaintiff must move in addition. and that question hinges on whether the parents of the murdered children are called public figures or they're private figures, and whether the eyewit who filmed thech lottesville killing was a public figure or a private figure. we have more leeway to criticize
people who have thrust themselves into the forefront of public controversy, celebrities and our government officials, our public officials. we have less leeway with regard to people who are just living their lives, private individuals, and let me add that even if the parents and d mr. gilmore are determi be public figures, they are likely to win lawsuits again mr. jones, because he fabricated lies that tarnished their reputations and caused them tangible harm. >> brangham: those are certainly cases we'll followel quite cl lyrissa lidsky, dean of the university of missouri school of la thank you. >> bngham: now, the story of daughter in search of herself, as she com to grips with her own mentally ill father. amna nawaz has t latest
selection on the newshour bookshelf.th >> nawaze is a fluidity to lives lived along the southern border with mexico that at timw has had fe boundaries. that's the life jean guerrero has lived. her memoir, "crux," tells stories from both sides of theje border, whicn is intimately familiar with as a full-time reporter for kcbs in san diego. jeel, we've talked rem but it's nice to have you here in the studio. e. i'm so happy to be her thank you. >> nawaz: congratulations on the book. it's a beautiful read. you talked about your philosophy, the truth and nothing but the truth, but whe you're talking about your own family, it's hard to disentangle fact from emoattion. as that like for you? >> for me, the reason i chose to do this very perrysonal stos a journalist was because i felt i
needed theset- facsed tools that i developed as a journalist to disentangle miems from my father. it because story about my quest to understand my father, for who a long time believed the c.i.a. was after him and that it was mvery difficult for hi to tell what was fact and fiction. he stt of got me ino that as a little girl, cause he had suh a strong influence on me as a child, because he was my primary caretaker for the first few years, and i spent so much timeo with him felt like i needed to use journalism to disentangle myself from my father to figure out what of the things that he is telli me were true and what wasn't true. so i myself could sort of start to follomy own path. >> nawaz: this is your story ostensib, but it's your father. why do you present it that way? >> nawaz: the change he n derwent when he became depressed and thecame convinced that the c.i.a. was beaming voices into his head and doing things likeapping up in
aluminum foil to block out the voices allegedly, at one point he destroyed the condominium he was living in. that drastichange between the playful, loving, doting father that i'd had as a child and tis sort of lost father that he became was very traumatic for me and i had this obsession with trying to ree the father that he once was. as a teenage their manifested in really self-destructive behavior where i was experimenting with drugs and i was going into mexico and doing these very irresponsible things. so i saw mexico as this way of eploringy father. he instilled in me my journalistic curiosity, because i believe that curiosity is driven by the sort of same impulse that drives madness in a sense. it's this sort of restlessness of intellect. >> nawaz: you talk a lot about
how you're perceived growing up how people see you. but as a lot of people with hyphenated identities know, it'y also about hu self-identify some after this journey, how do you self-identify? >> i don't feel like i have th fixed identity. alke for me, discovering who i was isways about navigating lines between the united states and meico. my mother is from puerto rico, so there's that. but not just in terms of crossing the border between countries and also navigating the lineetween my mother and my father. because my mother, she's a alctor. she isays this very by the book, by the rules person. and then you have my father, who yis this ver anti-establishment, anti-reality figure. so my identity is very much about trying to find that line between extremes. >> nawaz: in youlr professio life as a reporter, you have heen doing some incredible performing alongouthern u.s. border and specifically on separated families. he's been able to feature yourwo
on the newshour, too. how has this story that you'veyo uncovered abour own family, how your ancestors cross borders. how has that influenced or informed how you report on this story now? >> i think there is this feeling that once these families are reunited, that the story is over. that finally justi has been done, the families that were separated are together again, and it'ins happy end but these children have been separated from their parents in some cases for months. some of them under the age of five. and that's a trauma that is long lasting and itt something tha i know from talking to these families they really want access to mental health services. the struggle for them is not over because the children are acting out. they're having nightmares, night terror, crying all the time. ey think their parents are going to be taken away from them again.
>> nawaz: what your relationr ip like with your r father today? >> he was initially very concerned because he t it would bring the attention of the c.i.a. and because of the things that he believed, but when he realized what was driving me to write it, it was just this thing that i had to do since i a teenager really, he became veryh supportive a actually showed up to my launch party in san diego and i was very surprised to see him there. ll just asked me not to t anybody that he was there because he didn't want people 'srning around and looking at him and saying, thhe father in the book. but he showed up on his a motorcycle sat in the front row. it just mend the world to me. >> nawaz: it's a beautiful story, both his story, yours, your entire family going back generation. the book is "crux: a cross-border memoir." jean guerrero, thank you for
being here. >> thank you so much for having me. >> brangham: there's a new crisis unfolding in myanmar: the poaching of asian elephants. as newshour producer nsikan akpan reports, this fragile species, distinct from their more numerous african cousins, are facing a growing threat. >> reporter: the poaching of african elephants, where they are murdered for their ivory tusks, is well documented. but halfway around world in myanmar, their cousiian elephants, are 10 times more endangered and facing a new serious threat.po herehers are taking the elephant's skin and turning it into ruby red jewelry. >> it actually was a huge shock. so we were following these elephants with the with our collars and we started noticing that they disappear if the caller stopped working and they lsappeared. >> reporter: petmgruber is head of conservation ecology at the smithsonian conservation bioly institute at the national zoo in washinteon, d.c. his stumbled upon this
poaching crisis, during a routine acking study with gps collars that started in late 2014. >> we had 19 collared and five of them we knew were poached we found them poached. and then there were two thatdi sappeared in the way their movement changed right before they disappeared indicated that they were probably poached. >> reporter: this led the researchers and myanmar officials to collect reports of poaching from local villagers.e >> in d we found about 45 elephants killed. >> reporter: this poaching was surprising becausenlike their african cousins on the open savanna, asian elephants preferh seclusion of the jungle, making them hard to hunt. john mcevoy was one of the searchers in the field. >> even our trackers have to spend hours and hours in the bush fighting through vines and other vegetation to even be able to see the elephants. >> reporter: prior to 2014, asian elephant poaching had been relatively uncommon because only males have ivory tusks, and even then, it's a small percentage.
>> now that the females and calves are being affected this will be a very significant impact on the population. it's the surt way to drive the species into extinction. >> reporter: a separate survey by the myanmar government reported 25 poached elephants in 2016. combined with the smithsonian tally, that's 70 poached reelephants over the last years, or more than double what the country witnessed from 2010 to 24. due to habitat loss, roughly 2,000 wildlephants remain in myanmar. so at its current rate, skin poaching could we out this population in just over 50 years. >> reporter: belinda stewart-cox is the executive director of elephant family, a british conservation group that specializes in protecting asian elephants. since late 2014, elephant family has been investigating this skin poaching and the black market trade surrounding it.
cey found illegal traders in china are the matomers for myanmar's poached elephants. this matched similar findings made bthe smithsonian. the skin, which can be up to an inch thick when its removed, is sold in two ways. >> some of those pieces are being cut into cubes and those cubes dried and then turned into beads. those beads look ruby red because they contain blood. and they're being turned into prayer beads or bracelets or necklaces. >> reporter: the elephant skin is also ground into powder for pharmaceutical medicnde. both beadsowder are marketed on social media sites like baidu and wechat. chinese officials denied elephant family's report, responding via state media that "the amounof elephant skin imported into china is very limited."at under intenal law, countries are allowed to import elephant skin from four africani s. but trading of asian elephant in any form is prohibited, except in rare cases.
to thwart potential sales of these new products in the u.s. japan or other popular destinations for elephant parts, the smithsonian, u.s. fish and wildlife and groups working in myanmar are mang public service announcements. >> most people that purchase these products have no idea what they're doing. we need to go to the places where the markets are and educate consumers about how damaging the impact is of what they're doing. >> reporter: if this killing spreads, it could threaten the 50,000 asian elephants left in the wild overall. liemgruber said the key is reducing market demandtsor these prodbefore these animals are all gone. for the pbs newshour, i'm nsikan akpan. >> brangham: and that's the newsur for tonight. i'm william brangham. join us online and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and go night. >> major funding for the pbsws ur has been provided by:
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>> ♪ do, do-do, do-do ♪ do, do-do, do-do d ♪ ddo, do-do >> in chengdu, eating on the run is a daily enjoyment. there are little food stores like this one all over town. they can be a quick snack or quick meal.an theye an appetizer, a main dish, or even dessert. it can be sweet or savory and my favorite, hot and very spicy. don't want to eat and run? hey, no problem. just walk. so put on your walking shoes, next on an can cook." ♪ ♪